Race | A pReview

First Published on Passion For Cinema
Images courtesy IndiaFM

Abbas-Mustan’s Race is scheduled to release this week. The film stars Saif Ali Khan, Akshye Khanna and Anil Kapoor. The film also has Bipasha Basu, Katrina Kaif and RaceSameera Reddy to do the requisite dance numbers during fillers. As usual, this Abbas-Mustan flick is touted as a thriller. And as usual, ever since Ajnabee happened, I look at an Abbas-Mustan film with trepidation.

In a recent interview, the brothers have this to say about the movie:

The story was small earlier; we had been working on it since early 2006. Initially, the story ended at the interval. The basic story is the rift between two brothers and the race to compete, outsmart and outwit each other — the race of life towards success where one falls prey to greed.

Initially it was a small movie. Ok, so did they add more depth to the characters to make the movie longer and more enjoyable? Na, they took the easy way out. Yes you guessed right they took refuge of item songs.

But this time, we wanted to add glamour (read: Skin Show), action (shot in ultra slow-mo to take up more screen time) and more item numbers(!!). What we wanted most was a twist in the tale. The more twists a story has, the more interesting it becomes. We also thought of having a multi-starrer film.

RaceAll those of you who thought that you should have a character driven story first, and then have actors suitable to play these characters, should take a running jump to a nearby well. From the mouths of acclaimed director duo you have it that first you got to ensure that the saleability factors are incorporated into the movie and then you can work all that into the story. The relevance of such addendum to the storyline is off course irrelevant in the larger scheme of making table profit.

And just to show that their sense of humour is intact, they make the following statement:

In the case of Naqaab, we thought about the story in just three-four months when Race was delayed. It did quite well.

Naqaab did quite well!!??! In addition of it being the worst movie that they have made, the movie also went out of the screens even before the glue of its posters got dry.

Abbas-Mustan for me, have gone through three phases. Phase One was when Khiladi (1992) and Baazigar (1993) hit the screens and wowed us one and all. Both the movies thrilled and shockRaceed the movie goers. In those days I was studying in school and prior to these movies I never paid attention to directors’ names. It was after Baazigar that I swore that ill watch every Abbas-Mustan movie that hits the marquee. During this phase the duo believed that content was king and if you concentrate on the story success will follow you.

Phase Two happened when they ran out of content. So logically they should look for good writers and develop on their stories and make movies. But this is the Hindi film industry. Only short cuts are employed. So, they suddenly became ‘inspired’ from Hollywood. We began to be regaled by desi versions of Sleeping with the Enemy (Daraar), A Perfect Murder (Humraaz) and Disclosure (Aitraaz). I thought this was not bad because even though they were ripping off movies at least they weren’t botching up the presentation. Badshah and Chori Chori Chupke were the exceptions in this phase.

Then came the Third Phase wherein they only concentrate on style – of the promos. The Racestory and the movie was damned and the entire focus was on getting the audience in during the first week. 36 Chinatown and Naqaab are the results of this phase. Somehow I feel that Race will also belong to this category.

Off course we’ll know all about it in a couple of days, but I for one won’t be watching the movie unless it receives favourable reviews. And if Mr. Adarsh writes something like “On the whole, a well made slick entertainer that should be an instant success at the box-office” and gives it 4 stars, then the movie is definitely a No-Go for me.


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